The Pennsylvania State University
Cover for the book TMI 25 Years Later

TMI 25 Years Later

The Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant Accident and Its Impact Bonnie A. Osif, Anthony J. Baratta, and Thomas W. Conkling
  • Copyright: 2004
  • Dimensions: 6 x 9
  • Page Count: 194 pages
  • Illustrations: 30 b&w illustrations
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-271-02383-0
  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-271-02743-2
“The accident at Three Mile Island Unit 2 in 1979 is historically important for understanding the development of nuclear power in the United States. This book is a concise, well-written, documented account of the accident and its cleanup, but it also provides welcome insight into the media coverage and public understanding of nuclear energy matters. With valuable primers on nuclear energy basics and energy options for the future, TMI 25 Years Later is well worth reading by professionals as well as laypersons.”
TMI 25 Years Later provides a concise and objective overview of the causes and consequences of the Three Mile Island accident. Having played a role in the events the authors describe, I am impressed by their coverage of everything from reactor operation and regulation to effects on the surrounding community and the ten-year cleanup effort. They also do an excellent job of placing nuclear power in a long-term energy perspective.”
“They have produced a very good book not only about TMI but also as an introduction to nuclear power and radiation effects and as a primer on the interaction of the media, the public, and the community in the development of governmental policy. . . . This book will appeal to those interested in TMI, in the general area of energy, and even to those who like a good story.”

Three Mile Island burst into the nation's headlines twenty-five years ago, forever changing our view of nuclear power. The dramatic accident held the world's attention for an unsettling week in March 1979 as engineers struggled to understand what had happened and brought the damaged reactor to a safe condition. Much has been written since then about TMI, but it is not easy to find up-to-date information that is both reliable and accessible to the nonscientific reader. TMI 25 Years Later offers a much-needed "one-stop" resource for a new generation of citizens, students, and policy makers.

The legacy of Three Mile Island has been far reaching. The worst nuclear accident in U.S. history marked a turning point in our policies, our perceptions, and our national identity. Those involved in the nuclear industry today study the scenario carefully and review the decontamination and recovery process. Risk management and the ability to convey risks to the general population rationally and understandably are an integral part of implementing new technologies. Political, environmental, and energy decisions have been made with TMI as a factor, and while studies reveal little environmental damage from the accident, long-term studies of health effects continue.

TMI 25 Years Later presents a balanced and factual account of the accident, the cleanup effort, and the many facets of its legacy. The authors bring extensive research and writing The authors bring extensive research and writing experience to this book. After the accident and the cleanup, a significant collection of videotapes, photographs, and reports was donated to the University Libraries at Penn State University. Bonnie Osif and Thomas Conkling are engineering librarians at Penn State who maintain a database of these materials, which they have made available to the general public through an award-winning website. Anthony Baratta is a nuclear engineer who worked with the decontamination and recovery project at TMI and is an expert in nuclear accidents. The book features unique photographs of the cleanup and helpful appendixes that enable readers to investigate further various aspects of the story.

Bonnie A. Osif is the Engineering Reference and Instruction Librarian and the Pennsylvania Transportation Institute Librarian at The Pennsylvania State University.

Anthony J. Baratta is Professor of Nuclear Engineering and Head of the Nuclear Safety Center at The Pennsylvania State University.

Thomas W. Conkling is Head of the Engineering Library at The Pennsylvania State University.


Preface and Acknowledgments


1. Nuclear Energy Basics

2. The Accident

3. The Cleanup of TMI Unit 2

4. Media Coverage and Public Understanding

5. The Effect on the Local Community

6. The Impact of Three Mile Island

7. Energy for the Future





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